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Nevada bench press and deadlift championships coming to the Nugget

Powerlifting is coming to Pahrump at the Nugget Events Center. The event is sponsored by the World Association for Benchers and Deadlifters and will be on March 7 at 9 a.m.

Gary Miller is the director of this meet and is looking forward to a great turnout. In the past, over fifty lifters have competed in the meet. Miller said competing in the state meet qualifies lifters to compete in the world meet.

The meet costs $65 per each division or $110 for two divisions. Miller explained that a lifter can do as many divisions as he wants. Lifters are categorized by weight and age and there is also an open division. Also, people who just want to watch the excitement can attend for $5.

One of the oldest lifters at the contest will be Rodney Graves and he will be 91. He has been a resident in Pahrump for seven years and has been powerlifting for only five years. He said he got into it because a powerlifter named Bill Prince got him interested in it.

“When I started this in my mid-eighties my health was in good shape,” he said. “When I retired at the age of 55 I would run every morning five miles, but I never lifted any weights until five years ago.”

He said his running came from his U.S. Marine Corp training from World War II. He had entered the corps in 1941 after Pearl Harbor was bombed.

Graves said the key to his health as a senior has been his ability to stay active. All his life he has been an avid outdoor person so working out was not something new to him.

“I was able to do the weightlifting because I was in good shape,” Graves said. “I was motivated to stay in shape because I came from the Midwest. I grew up with guys that grew up on farms, but the guys I knew didn’t keep in shape and they died young, so I didn’t want to be like them.”

He said another motivation for him to stay in shape was his doctor who used to ski a lot.

“When I was younger I had this doctor who got me into skiing,” he said. “He told me if you turn 60 you can ski for free so this was motivation for me to stay in shape and I skied too, for free.”

Although he no longer skis, Graves will be entered in the bench press. He expects to bench 160 pounds. His goal is to qualify for the world meet, which means he has to place at this state meet.

He said he loves to compete.

“I enjoy winning and I enjoy competition,” Graves said.

He said the lifting is a win-win for him. He stays in shape and gets to compete.

His lifting has seen him through some tough times. When his wife passed in October he said the lifting kept him going and got him through the grief.

“We had been married for 55 years,” Graves said filled with emotion. “I kept on lifting because it kept me alive. It made me go to the gym instead of staying at home and thinking about my wife.”

Krystal Miller is another weightlifter that will be in Pahrump for the competition. She too enjoys lifting with a passion.

Krystal has been lifting for 12 years to keep in shape and six years in powerlifting competitions and is a 26-year-old resident of Henderson. She works on floor plans for trade shows during the week but her passion in life is powerlifting.

“I lift for the challenge and to see what I am made of,” Krystal said.

Her size is deceiving. Many who see her for the first time don’t believe she can lift almost three times her weight. She is five feet tall and 143 pounds.

“I have always been active and I always have been strong,” Krystal said. “I do mainly powerlifting and I do the bench press and the deadlift. I can bench 256 pounds and my personal best is 275 pounds. I have deadlifted 385 as a personal best and I have deadlifted 325 pounds in competition.”

Bench pressing uses your chest and arm muscles. The lifter lies flat on a bench on their backs and uses chest and arm muscles to push a bar loaded with weight off their chest and fully extending their arms.

The deadlift uses leg muscles to lift a bar fully loaded off the ground to waist level.

Miller said she was influenced to start lifting by her father (Gary) who is passionate about the sport.

“My father convinced me to do this after he had been doing it for several years,” she said. “We are very close and this has made us closer. We have always done things together.”

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